A biography and photo of Mrs. Allen appears in The Heritage of
Okaloosa County, Florida. Volume II. Examples of her community
service and contributions populate local papers over a span of many years. A
Biography also appears on line in the Educational Services section of the
Baker Block Museum's "A History of Florida, the Panhandle and Okaloosa
County" webpage. An excerpt of this page follows:
Baker was born in Texas. She graduated from
Huston-Tillotson College in
1946. She married that year and moved to Florida with her husband, Samuel A.
Allen where they began their teaching careers. When they arrived at the
Crestview Depot they asked for directions to Baker, Florida. The agent
said," Baker!" "Nobody goes to Baker!” But he arranged for them to ride to
Baker with the mailman that morning. They were able to find a house to rent
for six dollars a month. They found someone to wire the house for
electricity but there was no indoor plumbing. They got their water from a
pump across the street.
Caroline and her husband taught at Drew School in Baker from August 1949
until May, 1954. That is when Carver Hill School was built in Crestview
and they were transferred to teach there. When the public schools were
integrated, Caroline was transferred to teach at Crestview High and her
husband to Richburg Junior High School. They remained there until they
retired; Caroline retired in 1979.
Mrs. Allen was an educator in Okaloosa County Schools for 30 years.
She dedicated her life to the preservation of local history. . . It was a
terrible shock to the community when she was killed in an automobile
accident in 2005. She and other family members were on their way home from a
high school reunion. She was eighty years old at the time. Hers was a life
well lived and serves as an example to all that even in death, she leaves
optimism that we can better our lives and our world."
In Memoriam - Caroline Baker Allen
As a teacher, activist, creative writing instructor, museum curator and 2001
inductee in the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame, Caroline Allen is
remembered for her efforts to keep Crestview’s African-American community in
the spotlight for more than 50 years. Mrs. Allen, who died in a car accident
in August 2005, was born in Belton, Texas in 1925 and moved with her family
to North Okaloosa County in 1949. She began her teaching career at Drew High
School and was transferred in 1954 to Carver Hill School, where she taught
English and business classes.
From 1968 to 1979, she was the head of the Business Department at Crestview
High School. After retiring from the Okaloosa County School Board, she began
her career as a civic leader. Mrs. Allen served in an official capacity
with the Crestview Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council, the NAACP, the
Eglin Air Force Base African- American Committee, and the Okaloosa County
Library Focus Group. In the 1970s Mrs. Allen worked to convince the school
district that what had been the Carver Hill School’s lunchroom should be
converted into the Carver Hill Museum.
She gathered school memorabilia and wrote grant applications for state and
federal assistance. Later, she envisioned building a larger museum and
shepherded its construction from fund raising to completion. Throughout the
remainder of her retirement, Mrs. Allen contributed to her community by
advising small businesses, writing letters and providing advice to citizens.
She was a leading organizer of Crestview’s annual May Day celebration.